Federal Judge Dismisses Most of Sarah Silverman’s AI Lawsuit Against Meta

A majority of Sarah Silverman’s lawsuit against Meta over the unauthorized use of copyrighted books to train artificial intelligence models was dismissed on Monday by a federal judge, siding with AI firms on intellectual property concerns.

In July, the comedian sued OpenAI and Facebook parent company Meta alongside a group of authors for using their work to train AI software and chatbots without permission.

U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria dismantled Silverman’s theory on Monday, that Meta’s AI model is built entirely around infringing on copyrighted works and extracting information from them to inform chatbot functions.

“This is nonsensical, Chhabria wrote. “There is no way to understand the LLaMA models themselves as a recasting or adaptation of any of the plaintiffs’ books.”

Silverman’s arguments were dismissed because she failed to offer evidence that any of the outputs generated by Meta’s AI system could be considered as “recasting, transforming or adapting the plaintiffs’ books.”

“To prevail on a theory that LLaMA’s outputs constitute derivative infringement, the plaintiffs would indeed need to allege and ultimately prove that the outputs ‘incorporate in some form a portion of’ the plaintiffs’ books,” Chhabria wrote.

This will likely set a precedent going forward in AI cases of this nature that plaintiffs will be required to present evidence of infringing works produced by AI technology that are identical to the copyrighted material.

There has been a significant uptick in legal challenges to AI technology companies as copyrighted material becomes a point of contention.

In September, John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, Elin Hilderbrand and other prominent fiction writers joined the Authors Guild in filing a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging that the technology is encroaching on the industry, with the same copyright concerns as Silverman.

Copyrighted material isn’t the only thing being challenged within AI companies as some are even alleging replication of likeness. In November, Scarlett Johansson threatened legal action against an AI app that digitally replicated her voice and likeness for an advertisement without her consent.

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